"As an artist, make sure you’re doing something original that satisfies you and people should respond if your passion shows!"
Megan Palmer is a freelance designer living and working on The Great Ocean Road in Australia. With a passion for animals, nature, and retro throwbacks to paisley prints of decades gone – Megan’s portfolio has something for everyone. She took a moment to speak about her bright vibrant designs and vintage vibes in her shop.
Make sure you check out her shop to pick up products featuring her work.
How long have you been an artist and illustrator?
My parents tell me that my crayons and I were inseparable ever since I was in a high chair, so I suppose I’ve been at it since my first memories. I had a great art teacher when I got to the senior years of high school who helped me kick it up a notch and put my sights on a career as an artist. After school I went and got a Bachelor of Graphic Design and then straight into the textile design industry when I graduated. Professionally I’ve been a graphic artist for around 6 years now, and whenever I have time on the side I like to tackle some more detailed illustration projects.
"Colour palettes go a long way to help your pattern look unified! Try limiting the amount of different colours you use in a repeat tile."
What advice would you give to artists starting out making pattern work?
Colour palettes go a long way to help your pattern look unified! Try limiting the amount of different colours you use in a repeat tile. For example, a vintage screen printed floral might look super detailed, but if you look closely it may have as little as 3 screens of colours. I try not to use more than around 8 spot colours in a repeat print out of habit, it doesn’t matter how many you use when it’s being digitally printed like most things on Redbubble but limiting the colours makes it look more authentic. Also, the offset filter in Photoshop is your friend! If you have a motif you want to repeat randomly figure out the pixel size of your canvas, duplicate the layer, and offset it the amount of pixels your canvas is in the direction it overlaps on the tile. This method can help you create intricate random repeats. Another good little tidbit is to make sure your pattern’s aren’t too repetitive if you are going for that random, intricate look- make your tile big enough that you can’t really divine where the repeat starts and ends on the product.
What’s your favourite tools or mediums to work with?
I’ve always been a hands-on artist at heart, but in recent years the heavy use of digital in my day job has made me rather comfortable using less native mediums. I like to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop a lot for layout and composition Sometimes I primarily stay digital, getting natural effects with a big selection of brushes in Photoshop. Sometimes I use this as a guide that I print out and hand-draw. In that case I have a soft spot mainly for simple graphite, Copic markers and sometimes even paint markers, like Posca.
Which is your favourite work uploaded to Redbubble and why?
I’d have to say I’m quite fond of “Catyang”- an artwork I did for Redbubble’s recent birthday Instagram competition. I’m proud of the balance, texture, and form of it! I think it’s just a really successful geometric based artwork. And everyone loves kitties!
"Being entirely commercial about it is one way to make sales, but there is a way to do what you enjoy and love in a sellable way -- you just have to find your niche! "
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I suppose mostly from the likes of Instagram and Pinterest, there’s a torrent of talent constantly flowing from social media and seeing others’ creativity really spurs me to do more artwork. Apart from that, I am a massive live music fan and frequenter of gigs (Melbourne is a great city for it), the vibrancy of the scene always inspires me and one of my favourite things to illustrate are band posters. Also, vintage clothing shops are a goldmine of stimulus — love finding amazing florals and paisleys from decades ago!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
Not really a piece of advice per se but when I was in high school my art teacher got us to do two drawing studies per week that took 20+ minutes, this really helped me refine my drawing skills and served as a platform to become a successful illustrator. I suppose the moral of the story is practice makes perfect! Keep it up regularly and you’ll undoubtedly improve.
How do you sustain yourself creatively and keep on getting/finding inspiration?
Honestly I’m not a person that really ever struggles with inspiration, I have a massive list of notes on my phone I add to whenever I have ideas for new artworks; my main issue is finding the time to do them all in between full time work and all that essential stuff like eating and sleeping and going to the pub. My ideas strike at random times, when I’m driving and going on tangential rants in my head or when I’m sitting at work, even in the shower and sometimes I even wake up with ideas from dreams! I think all the inspiration probably just comes from surrounding myself with art 24/7.
"...really keep in mind what product your print is going on -- for instance, sometimes just dropping an art print onto a t-shirt doesn’t work too well, think about the composition and layout for different surfaces. When you tailor a print to the product it really shows."
What’s your top tip for selling artwork on Redbubble for other artists?
Being entirely commercial about it is one way to make sales, but there is a way to do what you enjoy and love in a sellable way — you just have to find your niche! It may take a while of testing the waters but just make sure you’re doing something original that satisfies you and people should respond if your passion shows! Also, really keep in mind what product your print is going on — for instance, sometimes just dropping an art print onto a t-shirt doesn’t work too well, think about the composition and layout for different surfaces. When you tailor a print to the product it really shows.